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The ‘Scream’ Video Store 20 Years Later Will Break Your Heart

We continue to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Scream.

As star Matthew Lillard recently noted when asked to reflect on Scream, the game-changing slasher film was proudly a product of the time period it was made in, and looking back today, it is indeed something of a cinematic time capsule back to the mid-late 1990s. As a child of the ’90s, it’s one of the reasons I hold Scream so near and dear, and one of my favorite scenes in the movie doesn’t feature Ghostface, a knife, or even a drop of blood. I’m talking about the scene in the Blockbuster-like store, which has forever preserved the bygone era of the video shop.

Scream‘s video store scene wasn’t actually filmed in Blockbuster but rather Bradley Video on 3080 Marlow Road in Santa Rosa, California, which was one of only eleven stores in that particular mini-chain. Located in the 19th suite of a strip mall, Bradley Video was alive and well at the time Scream was filmed in 1996, and believe it or not, the independent video shop hung around well past the point that national chain Blockbuster wiped out nearly all of its competition.

The owner was quite proud of this fact, making note of it on the now-defunct website:

Bradley Video is a five-store home video, DVD and game entertainment retailer serving the San Francisco Bay Area. We take pride in our attention to superior customer service, selection and value. While many independent video stores have been gobbled up by national chains, we are still privately owned and operated and continue to grow year after year. Our loyal customers come back to us again and again because we are committed to offering an unsurpassed selection of movies on VHS and DVD and games in the most popular formats in a fun, exciting retail environment. While many chain stores carry only the “top hits” and a paltry selection of “stock” movies, each of our stores offer in excess of 20,000 movies to choose from. We carry an extensive selection of foreign, independent, classic, off the wall and alternative films in addition to the latest hits from Tinsel town.

Of course, Bradley Video could only fight for so long. Like nearly every video shop in the country, the store eventually ceased fire and was forced to shut down, though the Bradley Video store featured in Scream is pretty remarkable for having lasted until 2008 – twelve years after Scream wrapped production and just five years shy of Blockbuster’s own collapse. The store’s closing came in the wake of the company filing for bankruptcy a few years prior, and to this day, the 19th suite of that strip mall on 3080 Marlow Road sits unoccupied. The empty building is flanked by everything from a stationery shop to a Chinese restaurant.

Below you’ll find a few inside and outside images of Bradley Video from around 2007, which come courtesy of I Am Not a Stalker, and underneath those you can see the gutted building as it looks today. As we warned you in the headline of this post, the final image is a bit heartbreaking.

But thanks to Scream, we can visit an in-its-prime Bradley Video any time we wish.

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COMMENTS

38 Comments
  • Matt

    Maybe it’s because I’m in my mid-forties, but I find the demise of the video store to be quite sad. I do, however, consider myself very fortunate to live in a town that still has one. It’s not a mega-store like Blockbuster was, but it is far better than nothing. Thank God for Family Video, one of the few (if not only) chains still surviving.

    • The Horror Hunter

      I’m 16 and I find it sad also. I much prefer video and DVD stores over online purchasing.

  • Khy

    Goodbye my childhood. 🙁
    Ugh, I can’t take this.

  • Ron Quimby

    Still miss them…Worked as a video store clerk for years…Miss recommending cool flicks to likeminded customers…It was the only job I had where I went there and hung out on my days off! They were sumthin’ special!

  • Ohhh, that’s so sad! 🙁
    A couple of days ago, I was talking with my young brother (he’s 11 years old), I told to him about the video stores where we could rent VHS and DVD’s. I miss the feeling of rent a good (or bad) film and take it to home. He said that was an amazing idea and asked me why those stores are closed.
    I remember when I was 5/6 years old, in late 90’s and early 2000s, every time that I went to the mall center with my mom, I used to visit the video store, not to rent but only to see the movies posters. I got afraid and intrigued with a lot of posters as H20, Freddy Krueger, Chucky, The Others, Species or even Scary Movie.

    I’m 23 and I really miss my childhood, sometimes.

    • Khy

      Same here.:( *hug*

  • Mr. Dry

    This is so sad! My neighbourhood’s video store is still working (yes, believe it or not) but you can feel in the air how it’s slowly dying. I still go from time to time to rent some good old classic or a 90s guilty pleasure, OR FUCKING SCREAM, but it’s nothing like it was some years ago when we used to go every freaking friday to rent a horror movie with my best friend. I even remember I used to say that I’d buy the store when I grew up! Fuck you BD, stop playing with my feelings!

    • Alexei

      Yep, we used to have a couple of independent stores actually. Now there’s only one left but you can feel his days are also counted. Going to one of tnem stores WAS a big adventure! I remember, as a kid you needed a parents agreement at one store. When you became the proud owner of that particular member card, you felt like a king. Oh, I miss those days…

  • Robert Patterson

    I have some more recent pics of the still-empty store and other Scream locales here: http://www.set-jetter.com/ontheset/scream

  • Rick-Taylor

    Thankfully, there is still 1 video rental store around my area. They stay afloat by also selling movie and video game merchandise, collectible figures, cards, etc. A store for each couldn’t survive on its own, but all at one place makes just enough to still be around.

    http://www.112video.com/

    • John Squires

      112 Video is awesome! Just recently discovered it, and I’ve lived on Long Island my whole life. Makes me so happy that they’re still hanging in there.

      • Rick-Taylor

        Me too. I go there for the horror movie selection on VHS. The artwork on all those movies is amazing. Also, Netflix tends to send renter DVDs with special features not included. So, I go to 112 to rent the movies and watch the special features, too.

        Lastly, rent Sleepaway Camp from 112. The box art is autographed by Felissa Rose.

  • shawn lawson

    Ugggghhhh…..the good ol days. I member i would get to one of multiple stores (sometimes 30-40 min away) around 7pm on a fri or sat night. After going up and down the aisles MULTIPLE times, i would find myself holding between 6,7 selections. From there i would narrow em down to 3 or 4. If i had a good check that week id sometimes say fuck it and get them all, but usually i would dwindle that down to 2. These trips could eat up an entire night! I didnt care though. I was such a nerd. Get home, smoke a bone, couple stiff drinks and stuff face full of pizza or subs…Goddamn it!!!! Life sucks now. Half the time im ordering off Google play and watching the latest horror offerings on my droid. Fml

  • James

    I’m a young horror fan, so I don’t have that much feelings towards video stores, Blockbusters where barely around, my uncle was a huge horror fan and rented horror DVDs and VHS, which Scream was one of them. So not having much experience with video stores, I still thank them and my uncle for introducing me to horror my favorite thing. What I will miss is blu rays as I’m a huge collector, but with digital growing bigger and my local Targets and Best Buy’s reducing their horror Blu ray selection, it is dying out. Still have hope with Scream Factory and Amazon having plenty of horror blu rays.

  • JWEG

    There’s only one ‘brick and mortar’ video rental store still going (that I’m aware of) here (Victoria, Canada) but sadly none in my particular municipality/suburb. It’s a great one, though, so worth the trip every once in a while if only just to browse.

    Plus check out the totally topical current featured subpage:
    http://picaflic.net/index.php/frightful-flics/

  • Adam Clifton

    thats depressing. It’s happening here in Australia too. We’re losing the video stores and getting those soulless dvd booths in the supermarkets instead

    • Ugottabekiddingme

      So it is true.. Perth is like 20 years behind the eastern coast? 😀

      • Adam Clifton

        They probably are. But I’m in Sydney lol

        • Ugottabekiddingme

          At least ye have Bottle-O’s! 😀 Jesus, it’s been six years since I’ve been to NSW! How I miss it!

  • Stefan Heikel

    Video stores were a huge part of my childhood. I would brows the aisles for hours on end and look at the covers. I tried like hell to get a job at one in high school/college, but by then business was starting to die down. My hometown now only has two stores left. When it seemed like one was closing every month, my friends and I would make multiple trips and buy cheap, used dvds.

  • Screamz

    I miss going to the video store on a Friday night. Something so special about renting a film. Although I love buying movies, I truly miss perusing the shelves. You always had a great selection unlike Netflix or Redbox where you only have a handful to choose from. Very sad to see them go…

  • Bloodspatta

    I used to love going down to my local video store on a Friday night and wandering the ailes looking at the covers of all the horror movies.

  • Flu-Like Symptoms

    It’s really sad reflecting back on those days. Like some others have said, I really miss browsing the horror and gaming sections; looking at the cover art and reading the back descriptions of the movies/games. It was therapeutic. But, as much as I love to reminisce, I fully concede that if there were still video stores in my town I wouldn’t go in there now. Technology absolutely destroyed the need. Last time I sat foot in a video store was in 2009 I believe. It was Blockbuster. Fiancee (now wife) wanted to rent a movie and I remember even then thinking to myself “Whoa, who does that anymore?” Walking around in there and browsing DVD’s, we might have been two of like five people in the whole store. It was pretty clear Redbox and Netflix were changing the game. I get it, but it’s still sad.

  • Brandon MisterJuicy Alexander

    if it werent for the mom and pop video stores, i would never have discovered 70’s/80’s schlock.
    this means i would never have become a filmmaker.
    that, in turn, means that i would probably be working in a factory.
    gross.

    i miss these places.

  • Jason Pankoke

    In our college town, all we have left is Family Video and local libraries. Luckily, said libraries – including the undergraduate library collection at the University of Illinois, if you have access to it – is pretty robust. Nothing replicates the local store, though. Our last one, That’s Rentertainment, only closed in 2015. Hell, the theater where I saw SCREAM in second run was only two blocks from TR and that is long gone as well. Buh-bye, dearest non-multiplex theater, in a different-but-related sign of the times.

    I wrote a few things about TR and the lost in-person experience, because I had to: http://www.micro-film-magazine.com/cublog/?p=9102 … There is a clickable picture of a wall filled with glorious VHS at the end if anyone wants to go back even farther in physical nostalgia.

  • Chris

    Family video is still kicking in my town. Although it just added a pizza joint to the inside of the building which i thought was strange.

  • Rich Brasil

    Fun read. My copy of Scream on Vhs is an old rental from here.

    Right now the building just houses supplies for a Chinese restaurant in the same complex. I have very fond memories of renting Sega Genesis games, WWF and WCW pay per views, and my first horror movie I ever saw. Leprechaun.

  • Der Langhaarige

    That hits me even harder, because my two nearest video stores in my area are closing soon. (The one that is seriously around the corner from my house has tomorrow its last day, the other one, where I spent lots of time in after school back in the late 90s/early 00s, will do so in February.)

    I’m not anti-technology. Streaming has its benefits, but y’know…

  • DarkBree

    I used to rent many movies when I was younger. Every friday I went to my video store and picked at least four movies to watch during the weekend. Great days they were, it felt magical going there and choose the movies, most of the times I went directly to the horror area!

  • Luca

    Rent one new release, and get five weeklies free. Those were the days.

  • LastCubScout

    I worked at a video store for 20 years in Berkeley CA. That last photo looks like my shop when it folded 6 years ago in Dec 2010. Now it’s a Verizon shop.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e7a8d132115d4bf183dd1e300635ed327cffc884b0af2006d59d0b89ba2509c4.jpg

  • Kaijudude

    I actually miss video stores . My Blockbuster in particular, it actually closed in 2012 . I think it was one of the last ones . Half of me still wants to take out a bank loan and and start maybe a small store, the only thing that holds me back is that i may end up like Stan’s dad . Lol.
    https://youtu.be/gs_a_V6t9i8

  • gabriel

    The second best scene in this movie has to be when Matthew Lillard is watching the Halloween VHS as the ghostface walks right by behind him.

  • I Am Colossus

    We had a store that closed just 2 months ago…….

  • Alex

    We had a bazooka video store and it closed down.I use to go there maybe 3 times a week.I still remember the phone number to the store.Before they went out of business they had a sale on their stock and I bought a lot of wcw/WWF shows on VHS. Then we got a movie gallery but it maybe lasted 5 years .Now we have a Redbox.I do miss the video stores though .

  • my city of boise idaho still has a shop that has been open since the early 80s they once had two stores. my small town on the outskirts of boise where i currently reside has a video store as well despite only have 6000 people here

    • zybch

      Exactly the same story in my little 6000 person town in southern australia.
      Owner of the remaining store has been trying to sell for years, I guess its days are numbered.

  • Niles Danish

    This is a good piece. It brings me back man. I remember spending incredibly too much time looking through movies at the movie stores. I’d almost always pick up more then two flicks. The aesthetic of renting movies from the store was that it was an adventure. It was actually something to do. Go to dinner, then hit the movie store. Looking at boxes and trying to have the pictures and blurbs on the back sell you on it. Nowadays, it’s a click of the button. No where near the same effect.

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